Shot put is a common track and field event invented in Scotland. The event requires each athlete to throw a metal ball as far as he can, in competition with the other throwers. Regulation shot puts are made of steel, and shot put weight differs between the sexes. At the competitive international level, shot put specifications are made by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
Shot put originated as "stone put" in ancient Scotland, and was originally contested with stones rather than the metal balls used today. The Olympics included a men's shot put competition in 1896, by which point the modern shot put ball was somewhat standardized; women's shot put did not make it to the Olympics until 1948.
In international shot put competitions, the ball weighs no less than 7.260 kg for men and 4 kg for women, per IAAF guidelines, as of 2010. Until 1927, women's shot put balls often weighed up to 5 kg. At the high school level in the United States, the ball weighs 6 kg for men and 3 kg for women.
Shot put balls are typically made of lead and encased in a steel shell. Shot put balls can be made of solid iron or brass, as well; any metal not softer than brass is an acceptable shot put material. The ball must be spherical in shape and have a smooth surface.
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